We appreciate some things more because they are transient. Rainbows, James Bond movie marathons, fitting into your skinny jeans and, most relevant in mid June, strawberry season. It comes, but like so many good things, it can’t stay. There are two weeks or so when the local New England strawberries are certifiable bliss, with a week of medium bliss before and after. And then they’re gone.
This year, strawberries have an extra dose of magic since the full Strawberry Moon coincided with the Summer Solstice last Monday evening, June 20. According to Space.com (which has some gorgeous photos of the event), this harmonic convergence has not happened since 1948. If ever there were a year to put on your sunscreen and picking clothes, this is it.
My best strawberry recipe is super simple. It calls for three ingredients and has a prep time of approximately 30 seconds to two minutes depending on how thorough and patient you are.
Best Summer Strawberry Recipe
1 quart fresh picked strawberries
water as needed
milk glass plate (regular plates or a paper towel can be substituted, but milk glass definitely improves taste)
Pour strawberries into your hands or a colander. Use water to rinse at least long enough to get any farm soil off them. Put strawberries on milk glass plate. Admire for 3-10 seconds. Eat.
My second best strawberry recipe is slightly more time consuming, but is definitely worth the effort. Everyone has their own preferred method of strawberry prep. We wash them, hull them, slice three quarters of them, crush the last quarter, add a small amount of sugar, stir that into the sliced strawberries and allow a few minutes for the sugar to draw out the juice. This adulteration might horrify purists, but what can I say, we like juice.
In our circle, there is only one appropriate thing to put under the strawberries and that is a freshly baked King Arthur Baking Powder Biscuit, split in half so the soft insides can soak up the juice. So little effort, so much delicious.
You can’t prolong picking season, but you can bring back the memory all year long without much effort. Eating frozen strawberries isn’t the same as eating still-warm-from-the-sun strawberries, but they are definitely better tasting in the cold of winter than the anemic off-season strawberries you might find at the market.
To freeze whole berries, wash them, hull them, set them on a towel or paper towel to dry. When they’re dry, spread them on a baking sheet and freeze until, well, until they’re frozen. At that point, you can pop them in a freezer bag and they won’t freeze into a giant lump.
We are proponents of the ‘sicle method of preservation. At the end of the summer, our freezer is full of small serving freezer bags of tomato saucesicles, pestosicles and strawberrysicles. For this, we wash, dry, hull and slice the strawberries. And yes, we stir in a small amount of sugar because you gotta have the juice.
There is one other way to enjoy strawberries year round. Find yourself an awesome rhinestone strawberry brooch. That will give you a breath of June on any winter day.